Maidstone hit season’s goal
It has been a great few weeks for Upper Hutt sport.
On Saturday, Upper Hutt Maidstone United beat Naenae Collegians United White 47-37 to defend their Hutt Valley netball title.
The Upper Hutt Football Club recently won the Wellington women’s football title and St Patrick’s College Silverstream claimed the college rugby title. Upper Hutt also proved unstoppable in winning rugby’s Hardham Cup.
Netball coach Fran Scholey spent Saturday night celebrating with her players and reflecting on what has been a top season.
‘‘We had a few glasses of wine into the wee hours of the morning at home and we just talked about the season.’’
Maidstone lost one game all season and Scholey said the players worked hard to win the title.
Her team made a great start in the final and always held the lead.
Naenae mounted a fight back in the fourth quarter to get to within two points but were unable to sustain their challenge.
‘‘We managed to settle down and extend the lead to 10 points,’’ Scholey said.
Like all coaches, Scholey preferred to talk about the team rather than individual players but said there were some good performances in the final.
‘‘Louise Wharakura in defence turned over some great ball and was really, really vocal.’’
Others to stand out included Taylor Green, Eliza Lloyd Jones and captain Renee Kassey.
The rise of Upper Hutt represents a changing of the guard in Hutt Valley netball, after Naenae dominated for much of the last two decades.
Scholey said the team was likely to stay together and she was already looking forward to 2018.
One person who was extra pleased was Mayor Wayne Guppy, who played in a celebrity match before the final.
Dressed in a green tutu, Scholey said Guppy had bit of work to do on his shooting.
‘‘I don’t think we will be recruiting him in a hurry.’’
Guppy said it was always nice to see an Upper Hutt team do well.
Like the rugby and women’s football teams, Guppy said the netball win resulted from good coaching and preparation.
‘‘They had an outstanding year with a team that is mostly home grown.’’
He was also pleased with the support the team received, which he said was a feature of Upper Hutt sport.
Maidstone centre Taylor Green had a top game. On Saturday her team won its third successive Hutt Valley netball title. Left, player of the match, Maidstone goalkeeper Louise Wharakura.